Turkey’s rich and famous flock to get Maltese citizenship, including Sabancı family

Scores of Turkey’s rich and famous appear to have acquired Maltese citizenship, including members of one of Turkey’s richest families – the Sabancı family.

This has emerged from the list of names of those who in 2017 acquired the citizenship of Malta and which was recently published the Malta government gazette.

According to the Malta Independent on Sunday, the list of new citizens, published in the Malta Government Gazette at the end of each year, includes roughly 3,000 new Maltese citizens, combining naturalised citizens and those taking up dual citizenship due to Maltese descent along with those who have attained citizenship through the country’s controversial Individual Investor Programme (IIP).  

In terms of the IIP, a foreigner can acquire citizenship if they invest €650,000 (3.95 million lira) in the Mediterranean island nation.

According to the Sabah news website journalist Dilek Güngör, prominent members of Sabancı Family who gained Maltase citizenship included Çiğdem Sabancı, Bilen and Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, who are the daughters of Veli Erol Sabancı, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Sabancı Holdings.

Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, a member of Turkey’s prominent Sabancı Family. (Photo: Sputnik)

Suzan Sabancı Dinçer’s Childrens Ceyda Sabancı Dinçer and Haluk Akay Sabancı Dinçer are also on the list.

The names of Çiğdem Sabancı Bilen’s husband Faruk Bilen and his two children – Gözdem and Gizem Bilen – can also be found on the list.

The names of the grandchildren of Esas Holding Executive Board Chairman Şevket Sabancı also appear on the list – Can Köseoğlu, Kazım Köseoğlu, Zeynep Köseoğlu, Irmak Köseoğlu.

All these names were seen on the list by IPA. Güngör, in his article on the Sabah news website, claimed that Şevket Sabancı and Veli Erol Sabancı had also obtained Maltese citizenship. IPA could, however, not find these names on the list.

According to Forbes, the Sabancı family has an estimated fortune ranging between 20 and 30 billion dollars and their holding company has the largest stake in the country’s second largest bank – Akbank.

The name of Turkish lawyer Gönenç Gürkaynak and his wife, Serra Ayşe Başoğlu Gürkaynak, who surprisingly made the list of the top 10 taxpayers in Turkey in 2017 also appears on the list.

Owners of Turkish coffee brand ‘Mehmet Efendi’ on the list

The names of Hulusi Kurukahveci, Nezlihan Akyürek Kurukahveci and Hulusi Doruk Kurukahveci, the trademark owners of the most famous Turkish coffee company ‘Mehmet Efendi’ are among the names on the list.

Karamancı family also appears on Maltese list

Nezih Barut, owner of famous pharmacy company, his sister Nesrin Esirtgen and her son İbrahim Barut, Orta Anadolu Company Executive Board Mehmet Fatih Karamancı, Reha Textile Boss Reha Remirağ, and Arvento General Director Özer Hincal are also the prominent figures whose names are listed as having gained Maltase citizenship.

The Malta Independent on Sunday also reports that members of another famed Turkish family dynasty also appeared to have gained citizenship. The names of Mehmet Fatih Karamanci, Esra Karamanci and Fatma Yasemin Karamanci all appear on the list. Karamanci Holdings is one of Turkey’s largest textile conglomerates which provide material to denim brands such as Levi Strauss, Diesel and Tommy Hilfiger.

The newspaper further reported that there has, in fact, been a recent surge in Turkish applications for citizenship schemes such as Malta’s, with the BBC last November partly tying this increase to how the political scene in the country has developed over the past few years.

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